- High cholesterol
- About high cholesterol
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance important for proper functioning of the body.1 Cholesterol is mainly produced in the liver, but can also be found in various animal-derived foods. Having an excessively high level of cholesterol in your blood can have negative effects on your health.
What are the different types of cholesterol?
Cholesterol is carried in your blood by means of special packages called lipoproteins.1,2 Most cholesterol is transported in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
High cholesterol and its consequences
High cholesterol is a major cause of disease burden in both the developed and developing countries. It presently leads to 2.6 million deaths worldwide.4 Based on the Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, the prevalence of dyslipidaemia in Malaysians above the age of 18 years was 47.7% (9.6 million).5
High cholesterol is usually asymptomatic, but it increases your risks of:
How does high cholesterol cause Heart attack and Stroke?
High levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, which is the deposition of plaques of fatty material in the inner artery walls.
Atherosclerosis that occurs in the heart may lead to heart attack, whereas atherosclerosis that occurs in the brain may lead to stroke.
Are you at risk of high cholesterol?
Proper diet for healthy cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is not an essential nutrient.10 Your body can make what it needs. Therefore, there is no recommended intake for this type of fat. You should consume as little cholesterol as possible while still enjoying a healthy diet.
Lower your BAD cholesterol by reducing the amount of foods with high fat content:
- Fatty cuts of meat
- Poultry skin
- Fried food
Boost your GOOD cholesterol by adding the following to your diet11:
- Whole grains (eg, oatmeal, oat bran and whole-wheat products)
- Nuts (eg, walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts)
- Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids (eg, fish, fish oil supplements, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil)
- NHS choices. High cholesterol. Available at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cholesterol/pages/introduction.aspx. Accessed 19 September, 2019.
- Mayo Clinic. Triglycerides: Why do they matter? Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/triglycerides/art-20048186. Accessed 19 September, 2019.
- American Heart Association. What your cholesterol levels mean. Available at http://www.heart.org/heartorg/conditions/cholesterol/aboutcholesterol/what-your-cholesterol-levels-mean_ucm_305562_article.jsp#.Vz7LnPl97IU. Accessed 19 September, 2019.
- World Health Organization. Raised cholesterol. Available at http://www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/cholesterol_text/en/. Accessed 19 September, 2019.
- Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Survey. Fact sheet (2015). Available at http://www.iku.gov.my/images/iku/document/report/nhms2015-factsheet.pdf. Accessed 19 September, 2019.
- American Association for Clinical Chemistry. LDL cholesterol–the test. Available at https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ldl/tab/test/. Accessed 19 September, 2019.
- American Association for Clinical Chemistry. HDL cholesterol–the test. Available at https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/hdl/tab/test. Accessed 19 September, 2019.
- American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Triglycerides–the test. Available at https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/triglycerides/tab/test. Accessed 19 September, 2019.
- American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Cholesterol–the test. Available at https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/cholesterol/tab/test. Accessed 19 September, 2019.
- Dietitians of Canada. Food sources of cholesterol. Available at https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Factsheets/Food-Sources-of-Cholesterol.aspx. Accessed 8 October, 2019.
- Mayo Clinic. HDL cholesterol: How to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/hdl-cholesterol/art-20046388?pg=2. Accessed 19 September, 2019.